Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Life, Life, Love

Chick Wit: Credit where credit's due

I just came back from New York City and I learned an important life lesson, but not until I got home.

Let me explain.

I was in New York for Book Expo, which is a trade show for authors, agents, publishers, librarians, and booksellers. It's totally fun, and I love to go, not only because I love book people, but also because I get to see an agent who rejected me a long time ago, when I was looking for a publisher. I'll never forget his rejection letter, which read, "We don't have time to take any new clients and if we did, we wouldn't take you."

I've held a grudge against him for 25 years, because Mother Mary taught me to keep hate alive.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see him at Book Expo, and I'm hoping he's dead.

Too dark?

And even if he is, I still hate him.

That's how good at hating Mother Mary taught me to be, and believe me, if she were still alive, she would want him dead, too.

To come to my point, I went to Book Expo with Daughter Francesca to promote our new book Have a Nice Guilt Trip, which comes out July 8.

Yes, of course you need to buy a copy. If you like these Sunday columns, you're going to love this book. It contains many of them, plus the ones that are not family-friendly enough for a newspaper.

Dirty ones.


Anyway, this was the first time that Francesca and I had promoted a book together at Book Expo. I just happened to be standing on the trade-show floor, but at a distance, when she was recognized by some wonderful librarians who were walking behind her, but in front of me.

I overheard one of them say, "I think that's Francesca Serritella, who writes those funny books with her mother. My daughter loves her writing."

It was a lovely thing to hear, and Francesca must have heard it too, because she turned around, smiled, and introduced herself to the librarians, thanking them for their support with a hug.

I had a heart attack, but in a good way.

Happiness and pride attacked my heart, causing it to explode with Crestor and estrogen.

OK, just Crestor.

For me, estrogen is a thing of the past.

Like sex.

In any event, what happened next was that Francesca introduced me to the librarians, and we all hugged one another, making happy noises about mothers, daughters, and books, which is the girl trifecta.

And one of the librarians said, "Francesca is her mother's daughter, isn't she?"

To which I replied, "I can't take any of the credit."

Which is what I believe.

But I didn't realize why until I left Francesca in New York and came home, where I got out of the car and the first thing I saw was my garden.

You may remember that I started a garden last year, and I planted a zillion perennials, making every rookie mistake in the book - placing plants too close together, digging too deep, putting the plants that needed sun in the shade, or watering everything so much that I broke an underground water pipe and had to have the whole lawn excavated to install a new pipe.

I have a gangrene thumb.

But when I got home, I was astounded to see that while I was away, the plants had sprung up out of nowhere and burst into glorious bloom. The phlox had vivid pink flowers, the catmint smelled minty, and the purple coneflowers opened up their spiky faces. Red and yellow roses scented the air like perfume, and the sun shone so prettily on the flowers that I had to take a picture.

In the photo, you can see the sun rays, and honestly, it looks like God himself.

Nobody can take credit for a perennial garden, because we're not the gardener.

He is.

And that's true of daughters, too.


Lisa Scottoline's latest novel, "Keep Quiet," is in stores now, and look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's collection of humor essays in "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim."

Lisa Scottoline Inquirer Columnist
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